Fran, Lady Walsh
Lady Fran is a multi-award winning screenwriter, responsible for writing some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, The Lovely Bones and The Hobbit trilogy. She’s also widely known for her aversion to the spotlight, with The New York Times having referred to her as “one of Hollywood’s biggest living mysteries”.
Lady Fran began her career as a television screenwriter, her storytelling ability and the way she crafts her characters, has been instrumental in helping to pave her career. She moved on to film scripting for Meet the Feebles (1989) and Braindead (1992) before her big break came in 1994 when her script for Heavenly Creatures was awarded Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, which she again shared with Sir Peter Jackson.
Lady Fran co-wrote the screenplays for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – another defining moment in her career. Considered one of the biggest and most ambitious projects ever, all signs were pointing to horrendous box office losses, but the films went on to become a mammoth critical and commercial success. Lady Fran’s work on the trilogy was nominated for 49 awards in total – receiving 29 wins across the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, the Grammy Awards, and the Writers Guild of America. Her work on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King alone, took home three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Writing and Best Music.
Other notable works include The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014), The Lovely Bones (2009), King Kong (2005) and The Frighteners (1996).
In 2002, she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. A number of New Zealand universities including Massey University and Victoria University awarded Lady Fran with honorary degrees.